The central coast’s San Luis Obispo has been bike-friendly since before the phrase was put on maps, but that hasn’t stopped this charming city from paving the way to ever more innovations. They’ve been experimenting with green bike lanes right downtown. Lucky for everyone, the green designation also marks the spot for Central Coast Brewing, where cyclists can rehydrate with an ale or stout after a 9.15-mile loop between downtown SLO and Los Osos Valley. This ride is a great intro to SLO, passing popular landmarks and stunning landscapes like Cerro San Luis and Bishop Peak—giving an up-close look at two of the morros (aka volcanic plugs) running across the county. The ride turns down Los Osos Valley Road at the base of another aptly green strip: the Irish Hills. Circle back to town and hop on the Madonna Inn Bike Path, which passes the not-so-subtle Madonna Inn. Pedal across downtown on Marsh Street, passing the historic Jack House and Gardens along with the Chinese-themed Cheng Park. You’re one pint away from a complete taste of SLO!
BEER BONUS: The tasting room for Central Coast Brewing (1422 Monterey St., half a block southwest of California Blvd.) is perfect for a post-ride libation. Try the Topless Blonde or the Catch 23 Dark Rye IPA. If you’re feeling adventurous, get a taster of the Chai Ale, a spicy original recipe with variety. Beer is beautiful.
Begin the loop on the green bike lanes at the intersection of Monterey St. and California Blvd. (map). Go northwest up California Blvd. for 0.8 mile and turn left onto Foothill Blvd. Follow Foothill for 3.25 miles, then turn left down Los Osos Valley Road. Bike 1.5 miles and turn left onto Oceanaire Drive (a residential street and the only one on the loop without a bike lane), and follow it for 0.9 mile to Madonna Road. Turn left and go 0.6 mile to the entrance for the Madonna Inn, where you can get on the Madonna Inn Bike Path. Go 0.8 mile to the end of the path, cross the parking area at the trailhead for Cerro San Luis, and turn right down a bike path to Marsh St. Go northeast for 1.2 miles to California Blvd., turn left, and bike two blocks back to the Monterey St. Bike rentals are available from Cambria Bike Outfitter, next door to the brewery. Call 805-543-1148 to make a reservation.